Nov 012018
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Welcome to “Tips From Sticks-In-The-Mud Woodshop.” I am a hobbyist who loves woodworking and writing for those who also love the craft. I have found some ways to accomplish tasks in the workshop that might be helpful to you, and I enjoy hearing your own problem-solving ideasPlease share them in the COMMENTS section of each tip.  If, in the process, I can also make you laugh, I have achieved 100% of my goals.

Recently, I was cleaning out a closet and ran across some things that simply have no use anymore. I bought them, and I’m not sorry I did, but now there are better products that have simply superceded them.

Back in the day, I spent a fortune on a top-of-the-line Lowrance paper graph. The modern digital “fish finder” does thousands of things more, at a fraction of the cost.

Then, there’s my old 35 mm SLR. A Film camera, that is. I have no use for it and no one wants it or the dozen accessories I have for it. Ditto for the mini-cassette video camera.

Now, I see that Festool has come out with a CT CYCLONE Separator for Dust Extractors. However, I have a separator made to sit atop a Festool Dust Extractor that isn’t a Festool brand, and I can’t possibly justify throwing it away to buy the Festool item, as much as I’d like to. I also don’t see Festool starting a buy-back amnesty program just so I can upgrade.

The unit I have is completely acceptable. It has served me well for a number of years. It’s just that, knowing Festool, I’m sure they did it better.

This Ultimate cyclone has separated a ton of debris in the several years I’ve had it. Still, there’s a new choice to pair with your Festool Dust Extractor. And, I want one.

Like any separator system, you’re going to have a savings on HEPA filters because almost no debris reaches the inside of the dust extractor. You won’t be filling bags all the time because the dust stays in the CT Separator, which is lined with a disposable plastic bag. You can purchase supplemental clear plastic VAB-20 Collection Containers if you need to keep your dust boxed up to move off-site. A three-pack is $180. You can even use it without the Collection Container, but the capacity is diminished, emptying into what Festool calls a “pan.” The CT I use for my Kapex sits under the workbench, so the height savings would be a plus for me.

I have one small beef with my current unit, and that is the Systainer clips don’t always hold it securely. Because Festool is a system, I’m sure that wouldn’t be a problem with the real thing.

As you might expect, the Festool Cyclone costs about 25% more than its competitor. It is Festool, after all. If something happened to my old unit, I’d be on the horn today to get this ordered. If you, like me, vacuum your shop floor with your Festool CT, as well as using it with tools, you’ll definitely want one, too.

You can purchase the CT Cyclone at Highland Woodworking.

Jim Randolph is a veterinarian in Long Beach, Mississippi. His earlier careers as lawn mower, dairy farmer, automobile mechanic, microwave communications electronics instructor and journeyman carpenter all influence his approach to woodworking. His favorite projects are furniture built for his wife, Brenda, and for their children and grandchildren. His and Brenda’s home, nicknamed Sticks-In-The-Mud, is built on pilings (sticks) near the wetlands (mud) on a bayou off Jourdan River. His shop is in the lower level of their home.Questions and comments on woodworking may be written below in the comments section. Questions about pet care should be directed to his blog on pet care, We regret that, because of high volume, not all inquiries can be answered personally.

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